The Canal & River Trust, the national waterways and wellbeing charity, has started work to repair Lune Embankment on the Lancaster Canal.
The charity, which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, is investing nearly £1.5 million refurbishing the 200-year old stretch of canal.
In order to carry out the much-needed repairs, the iconic Lune Aqueduct will be drained, and a team of fisheries experts will brave the cold water to remove as the fish, including roach, perch, eels, chub and bream. The fish will be safely rehomed in another stretch of the canal. A 240-metre section of the canal bed will then be relined with a man-made liner which is a modern take on the clay that would have been used to help keep the canal watertight 200 years ago when the Aqueduct was first built. The towpath will remain open throughout the work which is expected to be completed by March 2020.
Built by canal engineer John Rennie between 1794 and 1797, the Lune Aqueduct is architecturally one the finest aqueducts in England, carrying the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune on five semi-circular arches each of 70ft span.
Graham Ramsden, project manager at Canal & River Trust said: “The Lancaster Canal is one of the North West’s most popular canals used by thousands of boaters who visit each year and is a valuable resource for the local community who use it every day as an amazing place to go for a walk, cycle or simply to get away from it all and get close to nature.
“For a number of years, there had been minor seepage from the canal bed where the stone aqueduct joins the soil embankment. By investing this money we’re not only protecting the historic fabric of the canal but ensuring that people can continue to spend time by the water which we know from research is so important for people’s health and wellbeing.”
Known as the ‘black and white’ canal, the Lancaster Canal originally connected Kendal to Preston and was built to transport coal barges north from Lancashire’s coalfields and limestone south from Cumbria. It is one of the country’s few coastal canals. Built along the natural lie of the land it offers 41 miles of lock-free cruising – the longest lock-free stretch in the country.
For more on the work of the Canal & River Trust and to find out how you can volunteer and donate to support our work visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk